As per Oxford dictionary, a research is the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources to set up facts and reach new conclusions and a report is a document containing information organized in many manners and may be communicated or presented in oral or written form. But writing a research report is not so easy. It involves careful observation and representation of facts in a lucid and narrative way. This article is a simple guide on preparing a good report as per international guidelines.
A research report present the results of a formal investigations in a rigorously formatted document that follows a conventional structure. A typical research report consist of three main parts mainly,
The preface part has Title Page, Certificate, Acknowledgement, Declaration, Table of Contents, List of figures, List of tables, List of symbols and abbreviations, List of appendices, etc whereas the supplementary section mainly has Appendices and References/ Bibliography. The text section is the main part of the research and is also called the main body. The body of the report has 1. Introduction/Executive Summary, 2. Literature Review, 3. Main Body, 4. Findings and Interpretation, 5. Analysis and 6. Recommendations and Conclusions. The main body has the following sub sections in it,
- Data Collection
- Scope of Study
In this article we will be discussing some formatting guidelines to be followed while drafting your report and the discussion will have the following flow,
The Title Page
- The prefered font is Times New Roman with a size of 12pt. There is also a prescribed format for the title page as shown in the image. Only the parts square are to be in font size of 24pt. Otherwise all the matters will also be in 12pt font size.
- Don’t try to add fancy images in the title page
- Please note that its not mandatory and different institutions may prescribe different formats for the title page.
- The preferable binding is hard bound with black color as background.
- The letters for the Front Cover should be printed in gold of font size 15 and font type Times New Roman.
- All the writings should be in uppercase letters.
- In the spine only title of research, year and place of study will be maintained.
Paper, Font and Spacing
- The prefered paper size is A4 (201 X 297 mm; 80 GSM). You can also use 70-75 GSM paper but the color should be pure white and printing will be done on one side only.
- As discussed earlier the recommended font type is Times New Roman with a font size 12pt.
- Text should be in justify alignment with a line spacing of 1.5 or 2.
- Single-spacing is only permitted in tables, long quotations, footnotes and citations.
- Footnotes should use a smaller font than the text (recommended font size of 8)
Margin Set Up
- The text should have the following margins:
- Top : 1’’
- Right : 1’’
- Left : 1.5’’ or 2’’
- Bottom : 1’’
- All tables and figures must be placed within the specified margins and always try to put the table in a single page.
- The last paragraph of the page should contain at least two sentences. If it does not, the paragraph should begin on the next page.
- All page numbers should be printed 1.0 cm from the bottom margin and placed at the right hand side only.
- Font size of 8pt is recommended for numbers.
- Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, etc.) should be used in the Preface section.
- No page number on the title page and numbering begins on the second page with (ii)
- Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) are used on the pages of the text (starting with the introduction page) and supplementary sections.
Using Tables and Figures
- All the tables should be Centered aligned and you are free to use any line spacing option, but don’t use line spacing below 1.
- Tables should be labelled according to the chapter in which they appear. For example, tables in Chapter 3 are numbered sequentially: Table 3.1, Table 3.2, etc.
- The label should be placed above the table itself and has the following format: Table 3.1 : Short Title
- If the table/ figure occupies more than one page, the continued table on the following page should show that it is a continuation. For example: ‘Table 3.7, continued’.
- If the table/ figure has a citation, the source of the reference should be placed below the table.
- All the above guidelines are also applicable to figures.
This is all about the different formatting guidelines set to prepare a research report which is a rigorously formatted document. Below are some of the characteristics of a good report.
- Written in easy to understand vocabulary
- It must have clear and short title related to the research problem
- It must give a summary(abstract) of the research in the introductory pages of the write-up
- Abstract should come before table of content and always try to make it concise which may not exceed 5% of total pages in main body of report. If you have to send it to company you may use the term “Executive Summary” instead of abstract and it should not exceed 10% of total pages in main body of report with maximum upto 10 pages.
- The report must posses the methodology section to show how the research was carried out
- It must have a discussion of the findings and the conclusion section
- The report must be easily legible and concise
- Ensure to give original sources of reference
- Avoid plagiarism at all. If you are refering something give proper citation for the same.
- Write the report keeping the end user in mind
You can download and keep the PDF file below for your reference or follow the links for detailed understanding of the topic. You can also read my other article on steps to conduct a scientific research.